Up in the air | Verve Magazine
India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Sports & Fitness
June 03, 2014

Up in the air

Text by Nittal Chandarana. Images courtesy FlyNirvana.com

As the temperature sky-rockets, and before the monsoon kicks in, you might want to find yourself a spot in the sky. Check out Verve’s paragliding diaries from Kamshet

  • Paragliding: Flying Competition, Kamshet
    Flying competition
  • Paragliding: Shelar Site
    Sky way
  • Paragliding: Tower Hill
    Over the hills
  • Paragliding: Training Site, Kamshet
    Touch down!

When it’s hot under your feet, what option do you have but to take off into the air, hoping for a hit of cool breeze? Located 45 minutes away from Lonavla, Kamshet has plenty of gliding sites discovered by Sanjay and Astrid Rao, Founders of Nirvana Adventures. You can fly tandem or do one better, learn how to glide. Here’s my account of a 4-day EP course with a team of fantastic instructors at Shelar and Shinde Hills.

Day 1: The day I cursed my decision
The first day makes you question your judgment; and have choice words with the over-enthusiastic friend or family member who convinced you to run down a slope pulling a heavy glider. The wind has a mind of its own and my Ground Hog enjoyed being tugged by the breeze. Everything conspires towards making you feel incompetent. End of day, you return dog-tired with a host of beautiful bruises on each arm as a testimony to your efforts.

Day 2: Look Ma! Radio!
They give you a walkie and an upgrade (the Ozone Mojo 3) to sooth those nerves. Coolness quotient escalates. You graduate to bunny hops from higher up the slope. You’re still running as if escaping from a petulant fire but this is a victory run. You taste success when you’re lifted a few feet off the ground. This is also when you learn how to land safely (hopefully on your feet and in one piece). Hardest part: mushrooming the glider and heaving it up that unforgiving slope.

Day 3: It’s a bird? It’s a plane? It’s me!
You make the climb up the hill. The footsteps have never been that determined. The attraction of a solo flight conquers all, even fear of heights. Mission Anti-Vertigo: Accomplished. You harness up and walk towards that first jump. The joy of finding yourself not plummeting, but soaring proudly high up in the sky is akin to nothing else. The glider (fluorescent wing, risers, brakes, et al) is much loved and flying is on its way to becoming an addiction. Special mention for the village boys who lug your glider up for you each flight. You return elated. You also return welcomed by fireflies.

Day 4: Elementary Pilot
Now that you’ve absorbed the thrill of it, there’s no stopping. You keep running up the hill to log in as many flights as possible for, how else will you go in for the Club Pilot (CP) course and brag about being a few thousand metres above sea level?

It’s never quite the same when you return home from Kamshet. Flying gives you a high and this bug latches on to you for life. Aside from flying, you meet fellow flying enthusiasts and find yourself becoming a part of a culture hub.  Until then, as the folks at Nirvana say, peace, bliss and happy landings!

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